Photography Laws of Privacy: When NOT to Take Photos
Photography law applied to what is or is not able to be photographed does vary somewhat from one country to another in many cases. There are, in fact, a few places and situations however, according to the photography laws of privacy, which you should always be wary of, wherever you might travel.
Police, Military and Official Installations
When I was taking travel scenes along a nearly-deserted beach on the Pacific coast, I framed and photographed this image of a lone figure walking along the surf (click on image to enlarge). Minutes later, a platoon of soldiers emerged from the rain forest a distance behind me. The officer came straight for me and began to scold me saying, “You can’t take any pictures of soldiers".
“What soldiers?" I asked. “I’m not taking any photos of the soldiers."
“You took photos of that one", the officer responded pointing to the lone figure now quite a distance up the beach.
He was right though. The lone figure ahead was the “point man" of the platoon. You still couldn’t tell he was a soldier. He was just too far away. I even showed him the digital images I’d shot on my camera’s display screen. Neither of us knew about the dog.
“Look, you can’t even tell that’s a soldier. Besides, I didn’t know", I defended myself.
I then added, “I’ll erase these images if you like".
That time it worked out okay, but on far too many occasions it does not. Military and security personnel can, will and often do confiscate digital cameras and audio recording equipment at the slightest provocation. When in doubt, put your equipment away. Don’t argue with them. Don’t get your equipment confiscated. Don’t get yourself “detained" or arrested. If there’s a soldier or policeman in a scene, be wary of taking the shot, unless it’s a traffic cop.